I-T department to adopt 'taxpayer friendly' approach

New Delhi, August 18 (IANS): The Income Tax (I-T) Department has decided to adopt a more friendly approach in its dealings with the tax assessees, sources said on Sunday, following Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's call for a mindset change among tax officials.

Sitharaman on Saturday asked the I-T Department to bridge the communcation gap between tax officials and the assessees and sought a change in mindset amid allegations of "tax terrorism". 

"Tax administrators have a very delicate role to perform. A mindset change is needed to cater to an infomred citizenary", she told tax department officials in Ahmedabad.

"As far as assessees and their issues are concerned, we must communicate with them and solve issues by treating them respectfully", she said. 

According to the sources, the I-T department is set to change its approach and adopt friendly language but not at the cost of forgoing any lapses. 

The department will use friendly language in its communications with taxpayers rather than intimidating, according to a source, amid allegations of intrusive, threatening and arbitrary behaviour by the department. 

The voices of concern have grown louder in recent weeks after Cafe Coffee Day founder V.G. Siddhartha committed suicide and, in a purported note, alleged harassment by an income tax official. 

With the help of data mining and data analytics, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is now working on ways to ensure the department makes information "such as large-cash deposits or high-value transactions" available to taxpayers well in time for filing of tax returns.

On the lines of reminders for filing returns, messages could be sent to indicate transactions while stating that they be ignored if already responded to or accounted for. 

"The Finance Minister asked us to respect wealth creators and facilitate them by cutting down unnecessary procedural delays. She stressed on a more human approach. In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi had also said wealth creators must be respected," a tax official said. 

Modi had urged rolling out measures to ensure that honest taxpayers are not harrassed and the Finance Minister has also asked for the reduction of interface of taxpayers with the authorities. 

She has urged the use of technology and faceless assessment in tax administration. 

In a bid to curb unnecessary and unauthorised tax notices and summons, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said on Wednesday that it would introduce a computer-generated Document Identification Number (DIN), which will be be quoted in any notice issued by its officials.